Booing players is not the solution, nor is spending more and more

Here’s a couple of Arsenal facts.

Arsenal made a loss in its last set of reported accounts, and contrary to stories that will not stop doing the rounds, there is no hard evidence that it was because the owners took money out of the club, nor because the club has fooled even its accountants into thinking that the stadium was paid for when it wasn’t.

It was because its income is going down, and its expenditure on players is going up.  Last summer £90m net was spent on players.  We are clearly not going to make a net loss in the next transfer window of the same proportions, first because the owners won’t fund it and second because that sort of spending doesn’t work in terms of getting the side to win more games.

And there’s another reason why the expenditure on players will go down – because we are at best going to have another season in the Europa.  At worst it will be a season without European football and all the money that brings.

So what are we going to do?

Well, what we are doing – playing the youngsters as we did against Portsmouth.  Except we will be playing them in League matches as well.  Saka, Guendouzi, Nelson, Willock, Martinelli, Nketiah and others.  OK the fans on twitter have been jeering Willock but that’s what they do and no matter how much I try and explain that jeering and complaining about one of our own players doesn’t make him a better player, they keep doing it and justifying it.

One correspondent asked, how else are they going to improve if we don’t let them know how bad they are?  Basically it’s the wrong question.  Everyone involved in a creative activity knows when what they are doing is not working.  Sometimes you have to try harder, sometimes you have to relax more and get rid of the stress.  Sometimes another person can help point you in a different direction.   But ceaseless public criticism virtually never works.   But that’s what young players are finding: come to Arsenal and stand a fair chance of being jeered on twitter, via Transfer Tavern and by sections of the crowd.

And such behaviour means some players are likely to leave sooner for more hospitable territory.

Thus trying to buy the club’s way out of our mid-table is not only unlikely to work (history shows that most of the time it fails) and it is also not the Kroenke style.

However the current ownership does mean that we are going to avoid the catastrophes that can result from mega-spending that happen at either end of the league.  We’re not going to do a Bury, who the match at Portsmouth reminded us have gone out of business after 125 years because the last owner but one tried to buy the club’s way out of their division into the league above, and then ran out of cash.  We’re not going to do a Man City either because our owners see Arsenal as a source of revenue, not a way to spend your nation’s wealth while denying the bulk of the populace the basic human rights that most of us in the UK take for granted.

Interestingly, at the moment, the Leagues are looking to tighten up their expenditure rules even further in the light of recent events, and if Uefa lose their multiple cases against Manchester City (as many Man C fans believe is inevitable) then Uefa will surely do the same.  It is, after all, what they do if they ever suffer a knock back; they change the rules.

Ultimately, it is all about improvement.  How do we improve Arsenal as a team?  By spending ever more on players?  By jeering young players when they have a bad day?  Or by supporting the team no matter what?

How does Uefa and the Premier League stop teams like Man City and PSG buying their way to success through endless donations from the owners? What is the practical route back to the top for Arsenal?

And it is not a bad thing that Arsenal supporters should engage in this sort of debate, because way back in the early days of our club’s history in 1910, first division Arsenal went totally and utterly bust when the local sponsor who had been paying the players’ wages when the club couldn’t, said “no more” and “can I have my loans back now?”   20 seasons on from that day they were the most successful and most profitable club in the land.

Arsenal survived because they found a man who was willing to buy up all the shares in the club, pay off all the debts (at least one of which went back ten years), loan the club an absolute fortune so that they could build a new ground in a place that would attract bigger crowds, and then sell the shares in the club on to the fans, so that Arsenal could become a club owned by its supporters.

Sadly, as the plan rolled out, smaller minded people moved in, and decided to take over the club themselves, forcing the old guard out, but the success of the 1930s was built on a debt free club that attracted huge crowds: the most honest way to run a club.

Whether the current owners have the ability to push such changes through remains to be seen.  But simply buying more and more players and building up more and more debt is unlikely to be the route we’ll take, even if the neighbourhood bullies in the stand insist on booing our youngsters because they have a few bad games.

20 Replies to “Booing players is not the solution, nor is spending more and more”

  1. Off topic.
    Arsenal have confirmed Torreira has suffered a fractured ankle as a result of the unpunished assault by the Portsmouth player last Monday.

  2. I totally agree, booing or slating players on social media is detrimental, whether they be established players like Ozil but especially young players still learning in the big boys playground!! These youngsters need lifting not putting down, yes Joe Willock had a poor game against Portsmouth but don’t put pressure on him for the next game he plays.
    I’m more annoyed with the state of the refereeing. Mike Dean was as per usual totally biased against Arsenal, I’m not sure why he has such a problem with our team but it’s beyond a joke when a player makes a tackle that fractures another players ankle and doesn’t even get spoken too and was even defended by Dean when Arsenal players complained, and an Arsenal player gets booked for putting the ball down sarcastically!!! I don’t normally make comments on forums/ blog sites but I’ve been so incensed with Mr Deans historic anti Arsenal biased this season and in other seasons, that I felt the need to vent.
    Keep up the good work especially the facts and figures you manage to come up with

  3. Season ticket sales are down , I’ve just had an email from the club about impending renewal notices going out soon. For the first time it’s asked about recommending a friend, speaks volumes

  4. Rudolf

    “Season ticket sales are down”

    I am on the season ticket waiting list and was told only last year I had at least 10 years still to wait, but if there is a major downturn in demand as you suggest, then maybe it says more about the type of fans we have than anything else.

    Spurs built, and subsequently now have to sell out a higher capacity stadium than us despite:

    -Not winning a single trophy for 12 years.

    -Winning just 2 League Cups in the last 21 years.

    -Not winning the league title for 59 years.

    We on the other hand:

    -Won our last trophy just 3 years ago.

    -Have won more trophies in the last 7 years than spurs have in the last 21 years.

    But this isn’t un precedented for us. When we were on a bad run back in the mid 70’s I stood on the North bank and watched us play out a wretched 0 – 0 draw on a stormy Tuesday night, against funnily enough Norwich, in front of just 23,506 saturated souls.

    Perhaps it’s because we’ve been spoiled.

    Perhaps it’s a sense of entitlement.

    Whatever it is, if indeed what you suggest is true, I find it rather sad. Perhaps I’m just old fashioned. I thought your love and devotion to your team was unconditional. I didn’t only turn up when we were winning. I turned up no matter what.

    Isn’t that, when all is said and done, what being a ‘supporter’ is all about ?

  5. I think for many of us it’s because we have become old . I was a fan , a supporter started in 1956 and hardly missed a game until 3 years ago . Now I am a follower , I watch every game I can be it television or stream . The club is still a major part of my life but the expense the mileage the crazy kick off dates and times finally got to me.
    I don’t go anymore and I miss it but …………………………..

    I think I have done my time.

  6. @Rudolf,

    a renewal in the attending fan base may not be a bad thing….

    In general, I fully agree with Tony, and would add that another headache or tsunami is announced and so far nobody is taking notice : 31.12.2020

    How will clubs be able to hire players.

    And there will be some added ‘waves’ coming with it : the devaluation of the £, the probable rise in income from the Bundesliga with new TV rights being auctionned – which will in turn enable Bundesliga clubs to offer players higher wages in € and will most probably lead them to raid the PL for young players like Gnabry.

    As an Arsenal fan I am admirative (and I must admit envious) of the atmosphere at Anfield Road.

    I just don’t understand why on earth supporters’s/fans’ organisations are not getting their act together and coordinate what is needed to make the Emirates a caldron it deserves to be, one where any player from an oposing team experiences shivers of fear down his spine, where the referees has to take the crowd into account. These groups ought to outsource a serious response to the constant BS of the fake news outlets going after our players : flood them with omments and responses, or whatever one can do digitally to make a point heard.

    This is what should happen. Guess we do not have that many fans or supporters…Chris

  7. Those newspaper headlines. I see another headline, which is trying to say that Torreira fractured his own ankle.

    And reading the page at, neither Arteta or the medical staff could yet say anything as to when Torreira would be back. What does the medja do? Some are saying he is going to miss the rest of the season. Dorks.

  8. Having seen the incident in which Torreira was injured on TV, and the close-ups of his treatment prior to being stretchered off, I am, sadly, not at all surprised at the seriousness as now reported.

    I expect him to be out for the rest of the season, and the start of next. WE must hope that the injury does not end his career, or seriously damage it, as with the Cases of Diaby and Edusardo.

  9. Chris It would take a whole thesis to try and explain the demographic of the nature of the people that make up the population of the area close to The Arsenal and how it has changed over the years.
    I was born 4 miles from Highbury immediately after world war 2 , I saw rationing and the start of the rebuild of London following the blitz. It was a rough place we had many ,and don’t take offence here Irish Navvies , doing the labouring they were mainly housed in the Camden Town / Kilburn area .
    Islington and Somers Town were places you visited only when you had to. You went through Highbury corner into Hackney you see London was a place where fights were everyday occurences and the people were raucous , hardened and tribal .
    Look at the place now :- Islington is gentrified , Camden Town the home of the nouveau riche , The locals are now more Hampstead and Highgate than Poplar or Bermondsey . they are no longer the same . The truth is that Londoners don’t live there anymore . We have mostly moved out .
    There are still places that have not yet been developed but in the main the people that live in them can’t afford the price of admission for most games although I do congratulate the club for it’s League Cup attitude and the difference in the people attending those matches is notable .
    You cite Liverpool as to being admired well look at the place , sure it’s developed but it is still a close knit society and like shall we say Newcastle the football club along with Everton is the focal point . London’s support is split so many ways , at Highbury there was a hard core of about 25,000 of which more than half sat in the East and West stands and the noise was generated on the Clock end and North Bank.
    My father and his brothers told me that when they started going it was a working mans relief on a Saturday , my Grandad a blacksmith at Woolwich said they went because they went , it was what you did . It was a community a way of life.
    I am afraid those days have gone .London People go to football to watch rather than participate , the nature of the spectator is not that of the fan . There will always be some that try to raise a song or two but in the main they sing on their own . That is why our away support is so vocal , because they are a group of like minded people.

  10. we have an extraordinary bunch of young players: leno-martinez-okonkwo/bellerin-oseitutu-swanson/tierney/chambers-holding-ballard/saliba-mavropanos-medley/torreira-mniles-smith-willock/guendouzi/saka-pépé/smithrowe-jjules/nelson-martinelli/nketiah-balogun (excluding loanees, like ceballos; and younger players as the lads who have done extremely well so far in the youth cup)
    under the management of our young and talented headcoach, and with the addition of a few (cheap) more experienced players, like mari – who looks like the real deal to me – such a squad, with our undaunted support, would bring us all the joy and pride we need
    between spending and nurturing, my choice is made

  11. Well, the Guardian has now a story that is rather positive of Dyer.
    Funny…Xhaka did not threaten anybody, did not go after a fan, yet was treated like scum…
    Dyer gets respect…
    And I’m pretty convinced that there will not be a manhunt on him on the web – which personnaly, I find good and normal. This is a game. That promotes respect…
    Ah yes… Dyer is english… and a Sp*rs player. His Mom worked at the FA. makes sense.

    Then again, England has a royal family and nobility. Guess it shows….

  12. @porter,

    I appreciate very much your sharing such fond memories with me. Thank you.

    If the AFC organisation had better brains they’d try organise stuff like it is done in the US.
    But I believe to a certain extent, they have like so many in England some contempt for the fans. And don’t care
    The money from TV makes them happy enough, trophy or not. An they know they’ll be able to sell the club at at least twice the purchase price.
    Put yourself in their shoes : would you care ?

  13. Can’t disagree about the influence that television money has had on the game and how bad it is for the fans .
    I was referring to the need for more crowd noise at matches .From my experience it gradually declined even at Highbury towards the end it was tagged the Library which unfair at times was at others fairly accurate.
    I was trying to say that as the standard of living has improved the animal in the crowd has decreased .and the nature of the attendees has changed.

  14. Quite gutted that the assault on Torreira went unpunished, but not unexpected given it was the Great Mike Dean!

    Also noting that the white washing of the Dier incident has started with media playing various testimonials from many fellow professionals about how they can understand that he reacted. Of course you they would always speak out about the abuse offered by the fans but sky sports news was quick to cut out if somebody than said “but being a professional you can’t do that”. I won’t be surprised that the media is preparing the background for a light tap on the fingers for Dier. Imagine if it was foreign player or especially an Arsenal player doing that ! They would’ve called for lifetime ban!

  15. There was no need for Dier to take matters under his own wings. He was sporting a chicken on his colours and should face a fine as should his club. A heavy penalty of points deduction might be appropriate considering he could have taken any number of diseases into the crowd of poultry.

    The media have embraced this chicken, showing their love for avian flu. Anything short of £50,000 is feather dusting violent behaviour of players amongst supporters. It will be like feeding drink through the bottom of the glass or in this case colonic irrigation of a constipated cockeral.

  16. Wasn’t it Dean who allowed McNair of MU smash Wilshere’s ankle, without even a free kick?

  17. And he was there when Eduardo was hacked in two. Mind you he did give a red card then but well… when you saw the consequences of that challenge you cannot do anything else, not even Dean. Mind you he made up for it by giving a penalty to Birmingham in the last minute for an imaginary foul….

Comments are closed.